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ATM ‘skimming’ scheme nets woman 11 months already served

A woman from Romania was sentenced to time served Wednesday for her role in an ATM skimming scheme that targeted Bank of America customers in the Buffalo area.

Marinela Unguru-Ducila, one half of a husband and wife team, had previously admitted using skimming devices and cameras at several local ATMs to steal bank account information from consumers. Skimming devices, which can be attached to ATMs, read and store information that is kept on the magnetic strips of ATM and debit cards.

Unguru-Ducila, who was in custody for 11 months, claims she was led astray by her husband, Nicolae Sarbu, also of Romania. He previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Arcara ordered Unguru-Ducila to pay $173,248 in restitution to the bank.

The skimming scheme was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti and investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

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